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Volume 91, Issue 5 February 13, 2018


2017-2018 Staff Listing Hannah Hutchins, Editor-in-Chief Maria Thames, Editor-in-Chief Savanna Winiecki, Online Editor Lola Akinlade, Features Editor Rachel Benner, Features Editor Maggie Burnetti, Sports Editor Matt Smith, Sports Editor Sam Nelson, Photo Editor Olivia Griffith, Layout Editor Colleen Mullins, Social Media Editor Anya Belomoina Amanda Black Molly Boufford Ariella Bucio Jenna Carnazzola Ian Cox Olivia Devin Rachel Dudley Moira Duffy Maggie Evers Megan Fahey Katie Felsl Lizzie Foley Zachary Ford OIivia Gauvin Demi Glusic Jenna Grayson Kath Haidvogel Emily Hamilton Dylan Heimert Abbey Humbert Maggie Hutchins Ben Kanches Jacob Kemp Corey Kuchler Allie Kuhlman Anna Legutki Stephanie Luce Elizabeth Manley Ella Marsden Kylie Rodriguez Claire Salemi Bulat Schamiloglu Kelly Shinnick Nate Sweitzer Dylan Trott Megan Wolter

Michael Gluskin, Faculty Adviser Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Contact us at February 13, 2018

To see additional content, be sure to check out our website:

“Boys basketball comfortably wins against Waukegan” Story and photos by Dylan Trott

“LHS hat policy subject to change” Story by Molly Boufford, Photo by Stephanie Luce


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News LHS offers new pilot leadership programs

The Freshman Leadership Academy is helping some LHS freshmen to become stronger leaders.



There have been many controversies surrounding Life of a Wildcat and its reputation, particularly among the senior class.

LHS Spanish students start innovative project


Throughout this semester, some LHS Spanish students will be participating in an inventive project with native Spanish speakers at an elementary school in Mundelein.



Update on the LHS parking predicament


The Life of the Party

A culture has developed through high school partying, often surrounding the use of drugs and alcohol.

Do others’ opinions of you really matter? Drops of Ink debates.

Warning: Radioactive Relationship


You might not realize it, but you have a fake friend; here’s how to recognize and properly deal with this type of toxic relationship.


Refuting our Reputation

Wildcat Stats

With the winter sports season concluding, unearth the status of the LHS teams, and how they performed this season.

Complaints are not infrequent with every Drops of Ink issue, but the publication may be issued more hate speech than it deserves.


Table of Contents by Ian Cox Cover photo by Sam Nelson Cover design by Olivia Griffith Focus cover design by Stephanie Luce Contents

Juuling: The Cigarettes of this Generation

A new substance has overtaken cigarettes: Juuls.

Opinion 24 Valuing Opinions


Detained in Detention

Discover students’ and staff’s different views on what makes the LHS detention system superior and what can be improved.

Shuttle buses will now be available each morning to transport seniors from Brainerd to LHS.


Lowdown on LoW

Cracking Down on the Code

Athletes are expected to follow the code of conduct, but some students are caught violating it.


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LHS offers new pilot leadership programs By Savanna Winiecki

Photo by Katie Felsl Dr. Brenda Nelson speaks to sophomores and freshmen during seventh-period lunch about how to handle high school, stress and life, all aspects of the new mentoring and leadership programs. Three new leadership programs, Freshman Leadership Academy, Sophomore Mentor Program and Sophomore Seminar Series, have been added to Libertyville High School and are available for freshmen and sophomores seeking to become stronger leaders. The Freshman Leadership Academy began second semester this school year. Associated with this program is the Sophomore Mentor Program, and the sophomore mentors participate alongside the freshmen, acting as an older friend. There are roughly 70 students total involved in these programs: around 50 freshmen and 20 sophomores. They meet once a week during their lunch periods in Dr. Brenda Nelson’s room. Every freshman and sophomore at LHS received an email in November and December informing them these opportunities would be offered. Many students who joined the program received a letter of persuasion from a teacher or coach advising them to join the program because they view them as potential leaders. Dr. Nelson, the prevention and wellness coordinator, sent all the students an email with an application to fill out that asked why they want to be a leader and what it meant to them to be a leader. Within the Sophomore Mentor Program is the opportunity to go to the Sophomore Seminar Series, which are four to six leadership seminars held by Dr. Nelson and Mrs. Jennifer Uliks, the student activities director. If students complete all seminars, they will receive acknowledgement of their completion on their student record. The seminars are a base requirement to be a sophomore mentor. Dr. Nelson said there are still some openings for the Sophomore Seminar Series depending on which lunch period a student has. All three of these programs are brand new to LHS, and Dr. Nelson considers them as pilot programs in their experimental stage; they will eventually change through feedback. The idea for these groups had been percolating for about a year. “It was a conversation about how to then prepare kids and then just get them reflecting on who they are as people and what areas they need to grow in and what do they really want for themselves, in terms of just goals both in high school and beyond, and how to tie those into conversation about leadership,” expressed Dr. Nelson. “All of this is new. … We are just trying it and [seeing] how it goes.” During Dr. Nelson’s three years in her position at LHS, the gap between when Link Crew ends and when kids start to develop leadership roles, typically their junior year as upperclassmen, has been a consistent concern brought to her attention. These three programs attempt to fill this gap.



Dr. Nelson runs the programs and provides the activities for the students; however, the students complete the activities themselves. Students participate in stress-free activities, including meditating for a few minutes before each session begins. They also have journals that they write in, along with topics of the week to specifically focus on. “I wanted to get involved because I know what it’s like to be a freshman. You feel very vulnerable, and you kind of feel like you want people to look up to you. I guess it’s kind of nice to have juniors and seniors do Link Crew, but when you have someone closer in your age [like the Sophomore Mentor Program], it makes more sense,” explained sophomore Lexi Bolke, who is involved in the Sophomore Mentor Program. Sophomores were included in the program to help guide the freshmen since the sophomores have recently experienced being a freshman. Joshua Stair, a sophomore who is a part of the program, described the relationship between the freshmen and sophomores as being on an equal playing field. The sophomores do not talk down to the freshmen; instead, they help them and work collaboratively so they all can become better leaders. “We don’t try to be a leadership factory. It’s more for kids to kind of get a chance to think about what makes them uniquely them and how they can apply that to be a potential leader,” said Dr. Nelson. The main goal for all the programs is to give kids more access to leadership experience and to develop skills that they can apply to any leadership roles they may encounter. There are three broad categories that make up an effective leader, according to Dr. Nelson, that the program tries to keep an eye on: relationships, self awareness and healthy habits. The programs also strive to be as interactive as possible, but also to be inductive and to reflect and facilitate students’ own ideas. “I’m excited to see the freshmen grow because it’s a group of good kids, and I feel like they have a lot of potential to become really good leaders,” said Stair. “I hope to become a better leader and understand my classmates more. I just feel as I grow and get to know more people, it’s more important to be 100 percent [certain] about what I believe in as a leader. I think [the program] can really help me.” Freshmen, including Rachel Erdmann, are also looking forward to the program: “I am most excited about learning about and meeting new people in the program who share the same dreams and goals as I do,” she said over email. “Everyone in this program is here because they want to make a positive difference in their community, and it’s amazing to see so many people expressing their beliefs in one area.”

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LHS Spanish students start innovative project By Ariella Bucio

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Koerner; Caption by Anya Belomoina LHS students spent a school day in January with the elementary students from Mundelein learning about them in order to gain more information to finish their books.

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Koerner; Caption by Anya Belomoina LHS sophomore Jada Higgins plays “pato, pato, ganso” with her partner at recess. January through April, Libertyville High School Spanish III Honors students will be participating in an innovative project with native Spanish-speaking third and fourth graders from Mechanics Grove Elementary School in Mundelein. The new project, originated by Mrs. Emily Koerner, consists of 55 LHS students getting to know 60 elementary students by spending a day with them and then creating a personalized children’s book for each Mundelein student. On Jan. 25, the LHS students took their first field trip to the elementary school. Each LHS student was partnered up with one or two students from the elementary school. They performed activities like arts and crafts and sing-alongs, played during recess together and read children’s literature to the students. At the end of the day, the LHS students interviewed their partners from Mundelein in order to gain enough information about them to incorporate in their personalized books. On April 26, the LHS students will take their second field trip to the elementary school to present their final, published books to their partners. Each LHS student will read the published book they have created aloud to their partner. The Mundelein students will also be able to keep their personalized books. The goal of the project is twofold. Its intent is to incorporate innovative teaching concepts with the LHS students while experiencing the lives of students in a not-so-distant community but very different culturally and economically than Libertyville. It also intends to empower the Mundelein students, and make them feel valued and heard, according to Mrs. Koerner. Mrs. Koerner, the Spanish III Honors teacher leading the program, is demonstrating a new way of learning called Project Based Learning, or PBL. For this project, she incorporated the tenants of PBL along with a concept in literature called “Windows and Mirrors.” According to Mrs. Koerner, “Windows and Mirrors” suggests “that we consider a variety of narratives that each of our students brings into the classroom and provide them with texts that both reflect who they are but also give them insight into other experiences as well.” Mrs. Koerner stated that it is important for children to see themselves


in a positive light, especially in literature. She cited a quote from Reading is Fundamental, a non-profit children’s literacy program, that has impacted her: “When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable they learn a very powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part.” Cole Fiorenza, a sophomore participating in the project, is especially enthusiastic about it. Fiorenza explained how he is looking forward to being a role model for the Mundelein students, along with interacting and connecting with them. “It’s a different thing that we’ve never really done before, and our whole class is really motivated about it. Personally, I want to write the book because I feel like it would be really cool to give a book to a kid and then just learn about their culture,” said Fiorenza. Many LHS students taking part in this project are passionate about it and have expressed their feelings with Mrs. Koerner. “It has really warmed my heart to know that they are excited about this project and excited to work with the native Spanish speakers from Mundelein. I’ve had one student tell me that he thought that we were going to change the world and other students have come up to me after class and told me how excited they are to be doing this project,” said Mrs. Koerner. Among those who have helped to ensure the success of this project include Mrs. Amy Wiggins, an LHS librarian; Ms. Jennifer Goettsche, World Languages Department Supervisor; Dr. Rita Fischer, the Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for District 128; Allan Woodrow, a local children’s author; and Cook Memorial Library. Dr. Fischer is financially supporting this project through district funds that are budgeted for curriculum supplies and conveyed her strong feelings toward the purpose of this project. “This one in particular achieves so many of our learning goals. It connects [Mrs. Koerner’s] students with students in the community, it helps them develop empathy and understanding for others and it really is a way for them to use their Spanish skills in really authentic settings,” said Dr. Fischer.


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Shuttle buses start; more changes ahead? By Olivia Devin

Photo by Dylan Trott The new shuttle bus service provides an alternative way to get to school for students who park at the Brainerd building. Last month, Libertyville High School implemented its first shuttle bus for seniors who park at the Brainerd parking lot. The bus picks up seniors at the intersection of Jackson and Douglas Avenues and comes at 7 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and 8:25 a.m. on Wednesdays. Senior Yvonne Montano came up with the idea during her gym class: “I was just thinking about how in the winter, it sucks; it’s really cold and we have to walk 0.6 miles in the cold and we have no transportation, and it’s really dangerous.” Montano took action, and over the course of a month, she made it a goal of hers to get a noticeable amount of signatures for her online petition. With more than 200 signatures and a list of contentions, she presented her argument to Principal Dr. Tom Koulentes in a meeting. During the meeting, Montano originally argued that teachers should park at Brainerd instead of students because students are more susceptible to the cold. When that idea didn’t work, Montano and Dr. Koulentes came to an agreement that shuttle buses would be a better alternative. Prior to any decisions, Dr. Koulentes had to work out the logistics. One major concern for Dr. Koulentes was that a lot of students walk to school, and he felt it wouldn’t be fair to have the shuttle bus solely at Brainerd; however, he justified his decision by taking into consideration the fact that this is the first year in the last decade or two that all seniors aren’t able to park on campus. “The shuttle is not a perfect solution, but it might just be a little bit of help for some of our seniors,” he said. Another concern was the additional expenses that could potentially accompany the shuttle buses. Dr. Koulentes worked with Diana Gratz, a secretary in the main office who helps to coordinate the buses, to find a solution: “What we did is we looked at the bus routes, and we had a bus that goes right by Brainerd anyway and so, all we did was ask that bus to stop and pick up any students at the stop,” Dr. Koulentes said. “So it doesn’t add a cost or anything. That’s why we could do it; it fit within our existing budget.” In addition to the shuttle buses, Montano and Dr. Koulentes talked


about the parking options for next school year. Montano expressed distaste for the current lottery system, however, Dr. Koulentes said that they couldn’t get rid of it but they could make it better. Students, including those on the principal’s advisory board, brainstormed ideas to improve the parking situation for incoming seniors. Juniors should expect further parking information in April, as well as a survey emailed to them sometime in February. One potential question on the survey is whether juniors want the lottery to be split up by semester. By splitting it up by semester, Dr. Koulentes said it guarantees everyone a parking pass for at least one of the semesters. In addition, there have been discussions revolving around carpooling. “So, if you, as a senior, wanted to carpool with two other seniors, instead of you guys needing three passes, you would need one pass and that would open up two other spots,” said Dr. Koulentes. If this were to happen, Dr. Koulentes said he would want to incentivize carpooling because these students would be helping the school as well as other students. Some of these incentives could potentially include a lower rate for parking, guaranteed parking on campus all year (each student would have guaranteed parking at least one semester), a parking spot that is close to the school instead of near the tennis courts, or students’ names being put in a monthly drawing for a gift certificate to a restaurant. Dr. Koulentes emphasized that no decisions have been made yet; however, it’s all under investigation: “None of us are happy that we lost parking spots, but our school really does want to do everything creative we can do to try and make the best out of the bad situation, and maybe in that process, new ideas get developed.” Additionally, Dr. Koulentes mentioned that, “If there are things happening in our school that our students are frustrated about, we want to always find ways to work together.” He feels that “every idea is a great idea until we find out it’s not.” Even though no permanent decisions have been made, Dr. Koulentes encouraged students to take initiative and express their ideas, even if their concerns aren’t related to parking.


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Reputation. It is a lens through which you look at yourself. Perception. It is an idea tion that we are constantly being watched It is how we act when no one is watching, dictate our actions. Sometimes, we act in so that we will be liked or so we will fit in. things out of us, but we expect things out are not met, it can be hard for us to accept


There is an idea of wanting, sometimes -- by our teachers, our peers, our colleag We want to be remembered. Through this ous meanings of reputation and how these because they are something that affect meant to represent reputation comprehe vast concept. So, as you go through this tion in mind: Who do you want to be? Feature


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look at others, they look at you and you of awareness and comes with the realizaand listened to and judged. Character. when our reputations aren’t there to different ways around different people Expectations. Not only do others expect of ourselves. When these expectations the reality.


needing, approval. We all want to be liked ues. We want to leave good impressions. issue of DOI, we hope to explore the varimeanings affect each and every person, everyone. The stories in this issue are not nsively, but rather a part of an incredibly issue, we would like you to keep one ques-



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The Lowdown

on LoW

By Rachel Dudley and Megan Fahey Infographics by Elizabeth Manley Layout by Olivia Devin

Life of a Wildcat, or LoW, is an organization that focuses on inspiring students to live a healthy lifestyle at Libertyville High School. The lifestyle is centered around supporting healthy eating, exercise, sleep, a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle and reducing stress. The group is not considered a club, but instead, a lifestyle. “By being a lifestyle, we aim to impact all clubs and all sports and just be interconnected with everything at school. It’s all about having conversations about how to promote a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Brenda Nelson, the prevention and wellness coordinator at school who introduced the lifestyle to Libertyville last year.



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The Organization’s Focus

To some, such as senior Trevor Evans, who is not affiliated with Life of a Wildcat because he was not invited to events beyond the last one of Dr. Nelson is passionate about students being as healthy as possible his junior year, the organization is seen as hypocritical because “[LoW and believes an important aspect of that is avoiding drugs and alcohol, stresses] their drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle so much that they really which is why she thinks it’s important that the followers of the lifestyle forget how originally that was only a part of it, but it also included remain faithful to this part of Life of a Wildcat’s code: “If a student getting the correct amount of sleep, diet, nutrition, [and regulating] stress [wants] to ‘start developing their drinking muscles before college,’ and mental health. It was not just about consumption. It’s hypocritical of which I don’t agree with, then go be free. But don’t try to do [that and be them to include someone who doesn’t get enough sleep to the club but to a part of LoW].” exclude people who drink.” A female senior leader who requested to remain anonymous because According to Nora Tucker, who, like Kerber, is another senior leader she remains in the organization despite her criticisms of Life of a Wildcat in the group, LoW is “trying to make a group of senior students who feels that what Dr. Nelson set out to do is positive, but the message got buy into all aspects of the LoW lifestyle and a very visible part of that is lost along the way. choosing [not] to drink or take drugs.” The attention given to drinking “[Dr. Nelson’s] goal is to spread this positive message about living and doing drugs is intentional, Tucker said, as that makes them more healthy lifestyles, but because it was so centered on alcohol and drugs, it important aspects of the lifestyle. drove a lot of people away,” she said. Senior Max Kratcoski, who, like Evans, is not involved with the This year, some students, mainly seniors, have questioned some of the organization because he also was not invited beyond the last event, lifestyle’s practices while others fully support them. The main divide about believes that these higher standards should only be applied to the the group’s reputation comes from the alcohol- and drug-free aspects of leaders of the lifestyle “because they are heavily involved and the lifestyle, as well as the group’s perceived exclusivity. want to showcase the club. It’s okay for the leaders [to be held to However, one of the senior leaders of Life of a Wildcat, Madison Kerber, a higher standard] because [LoW wants] to have leaders who are agrees with Dr. Nelson’s point of view, stating that, “[LoW’s] not just drug and alcohol-free. To judge people who want to be in the club, about drugs and alcohol. We’re trying to focus on all parts of your health. participate in activities, and learn about a drug and alcohol-free Everyone’s invited to this, but you need to make a choice if you want to life [isn’t okay].” Kratcoski questioned, “Why can’t everyone learn drink or not. If you are [drinking or doing drugs], then you’re making a about that? Why do you have to have specific criteria to learn about choice to not actively improve that part of your lifestyle. I think we are that?” trying to be inclusive to all that want to come.” This infographic represents the three main targets of Life of A Wildcat.





K e y s




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The Future Life of a Wildcat has been trying to extend its reach to include all students in order to meet their ultimate goal, which, according to Tucker, is 100 percent student involvement. To Dr. Nelson, total involvement means more than just having students attend events. “My hope absolutely is [total involvement], but moving forward, I think people will start to understand that it’s not so much about recruitment,” she said. “It’s just about [providing] good information to inform [students] why it’s good to live a healthy lifestyle.” As Dr. Nelson emphasized, the goal of Life of a Wildcat is to encourage all LHS students to live a healthy lifestyle, whether that means joining the organization or not. The group has used the Paw Street Journal flyers posted in the bathrooms and other announcements to inform all students about their upcoming events, in particular, the Red Ribbon Week hallway decorating last fall. Tucker said their outreach worked well and “there were a lot of seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen at our Red Ribbon Week event, and not all of the seniors had been at the initial senior barbeque. The whole school had been invited and encouraged to come.” This was a change, as the organization is almost exclusively senior-based. Some, such as the anonymous senior girl referenced earlier, thinks “that the fact that it is an all-senior club shows that it is such a weak club.” The outreach that has been done this year, such as with Red Ribbon Week, serviced the organization’s goal toward eventually becoming a school-wide phenomenon, despite the concerns about the organization that have arisen during this school year, disseminated mostly from the senior class. Life of a Wildcat plans on continuing these efforts to expand their audience. Only time will tell if these measures will be able to adjust their reputation among upperclassmen at LHS.


The recruitment process is another contested aspect of the lifestyle’s reputation. The methods Life of a Wildcat uses to gain more followers of the lifestyle, as well as who is invited to join it, have stirred up debate. For example, to kick off this school year, LoW held a barbeque for potential senior leaders. It was confirmed by several students in the club that they used a list -- created by students earlier in the summer who went through the yearbook to highlight students who don’t participate in the use of drugs or alcohol -- as an invitation list for the event. This led some students to feel left out and have an unwelcoming perception of the group. Evans and Kratcoski were two such students. Evans discovered from a friend involved with the organization that the two of them were both “crossed off the list.” According to Tucker, “The goal of the event was not really accomplished; it was a more negative environment because so many people felt excluded and I think it put the people who were invited in an uncomfortable place because they had friends who weren’t invited. It just didn’t give the group or the lifestyle the connotation that it wanted to start the school year.” Since this incident, the group has been trying to spread their message in a more inclusive way. This has included an email Dr. Nelson sent to all seniors that explained the goals of the organization and sought to set guidelines about the expectations of the lifestyle. Kratcoski felt the email wasn’t effective in spreading a message of inclusivity. “The first half of the email said, ‘We’re open if you want to join events,’ but the second half was like, ‘Oh, if you do choose to participate in activities that involve drugs and alcohol, then this club isn’t for you.’ It just gives you that sense that you’re not welcome there even if you want to try to find a way to get out of an unhealthy situation,” he said.



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Detained in

Almost every stereotypical high school movie includes the daunting detention scene where the students sit impatiently, banging their heads on their desks, pleading to leave. From “The Breakfast Club” to “High School Musical,” the pop culture representation of detention is portrayed as a dreadful, boring, unproductive time. Contrary to the movies, the reputation of the LHS detention system is a little different. School officials describe its main priority as being to help students get back on track toward making the right decisions to set themselves up for success. Some find that the system is beneficial, while others think there are more effective ways to correct mistakes.

Productive Punishment

After being issued by a staff member, the colored detention slips float through the hallways from the LSTs before they land in the hands of the students held responsible. The students then venture down to the detention room on their assigned day, located by the Studio Theater. With no windows in sight, the room is dimly lit, but the students are met by a smiling detention room monitor and a member of the security team, Mrs. Sheryl Barbian. Depending on the severity of the situation and what led to the detention, the time spent in detention varies for each individual student. “There is a morning detention and after-school detention, which are generally for people who are late to school,” Mrs. Barbian said. “There’s lunch detentions, which people can serve if they have permission, but generally it’s for seniors. Then, Saturday detentions are for kids who maybe missed their detentions.” According to the LHS student handbook, “Students have two days to complete their tardy detentions. Failure to serve these detentions, will result in a Saturday Detention.” In some cases that involve more severe behavior or transgressions, a student might directly be given a Saturday detention instead of one during the week. The before-school and after-school detentions last for 30 minutes, while the ones on Saturdays are for either two or four hours. No matter what time frame the student serves in detention, they follow the same routine when they go. “They have to come in, put their phones in a tray, then sign in and then they can come in and do their homework. They can use their Chromebooks for schoolwork, too,” Mrs. Barbian explained. She also discussed that while the students may not want to be spending time in detention, they all seem to use their time efficiently and produc-


tively by completing their school assignments. Senior Mary Lothspeich can attest to this as she described detention as “a welcome break from [her] chaotic day.” She has received multiple detentions for being late to class. “I’m incredibly productive in detention because there are absolutely no distractions from my work. It’s quiet, I have a clear place to work and I can’t have my phone or friends distracting me,” explained Lothspeich in an email interview. While most detentions are minor mistakes in a student’s academic career, there are some cases where it becomes necessary for more administrators, such as Mr. Sean Ferrell, to step in. Mr. Ferrell is one of Libertyville’s team directors; he works in the Q-Z LST. “[Detentions] are kind of part of the learning system, the reflection system. When someone makes a mistake, we would assign them a detention,” he said. “Hopefully, they would reflect on that time and what they have done and make better decisions in the future.” During Mr. Ferrell’s 15 years spent working at LHS, he has noticed a decrease in the amount of detentions given out to students, which he credits to having genuine “kids that do the right thing” at Libertyville. Both Mrs. Barbian and Mr. Ferrell agreed that a lot of the detentions handed out to students are due to them being late to class. “I would definitely say that [tardies] are the most common detention. With that, we are just trying to enforce good habits with being on time. Timeliness is a good habit,” stated Mr. Ferrell. With the exception of some regular students, they both believed that usually once a student receives a detention, they try to correct their habits and not come back, which is what the faculty and administrators like to see in students.


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By Maggie Evers and Lizzie Foley Photos by Ben Kanches Layout by Jenna Carnazzola

No Fear, No Change

While the exact statistics on types of detentions could not be shared for this article, school officials agreed that the most common type is tardy detentions before first period. The student handbook states that “Students will be issued detentions for tardiness at the discretion of the teacher.” But according to Mrs. Melissa Aubin, LHS English teacher, “I think it would make it much easier for teachers to enforce the policy if there was a set standard policy, and I also think it would be better for the kids to have consistency.” Every year of high school, students have a different set of teachers, and some of the students and teachers interviewed agreed it can become frustrating and confusing that in one class, a student is able to be five minutes late and not get a tardy detention, but if they’re not in their seats by the bell in another class, they will get a detention. Science teacher Mrs. Tiffany Owens also agreed there should be a set rule because “I don’t think tardiness is necessarily a behavioral problem, so I think there should be a consistent policy so then it wouldn’t be a surprise when a student got a detention from one teacher compared to another.” Along with the problem of their inconsistent nature, tardy detentions pose another question: Do they actually motivate students to get to school on time? Sophomore Katlyn McQuillen explained that “[she isn’t] thinking about the possibility of a detention if [she is] running late. Some teachers see it as disrespectful if a student shows up a minute or two late, and that concerns [her] more than the detention itself.”


Lothspeich agreed that the threat of a detention doesn’t change her behavior. “I try my hardest to get to school on time because I care about my coursework and I don’t enjoy the stress of being late, but detention is definitely not a factor I consider when I’m running to

school at 7:28 in the morning.” Mrs. Owens added that sometimes there are acceptable reasons for being late: “There are always extenuating circumstances, so if students come in with a pass or they’re getting math help, then I don’t even consider those tardies.” Although tardy detentions make up the majority of detentions as a whole, there are other behavioral issues, such as tobacco use, theft, threats, dress code violations and more that can occur, but those all differ in how they are dealt with. The Student Handbook states that detentions are a viable option for those particular instances, but the punishment is usually customized based on the severity of the action. Sophomore Scott Sanderson has received a few detentions for violating the dress code by wearing hats, and he said that detentions neither prevent him from wearing hats nor serve as an effective use of time. “I sit there and look at my Chromebook, and I still wear my hats everyday,” he said. Sanderson emphasized his point while wearing a hat.


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The Cigarettes of This Generation

By Lola Akinlade and Maggie Burnetti Photos by Kylie Rodriguez -- Layout by Colleen Mullins **Editors’ Note: Although the topics of Juuling, both on and off school property, are mentioned in this article, Drops of Ink does not condone or promote the behavior discussed here, given that, for all students under the age of 18, such activities are illegal. The students pictured within this story are of age, off-campus, and not involved in any school activities that subject them to the Code of Conduct. We as a staff believe that it is our duty to report on events and experiences that occur in high school and are aware that while not every student engages in these acts, there are some who do, making this a relevant and worthy topic to discuss. If anyone is negatively affected by this article, we encourage you to seek help from your counselors and/or LST. Since illegal activities and actions that go against the Code of Conduct are discussed in this article, all individuals interviewed were granted anonymity, aside from their grade and gender. Pseudonyms are used to help identify the students interviewed.


t’s fifth period lunch. Getting the sudden urge, a student scurries to the nearest restroom, locking the stall behind them. A different student, washing their hands, takes a quick glance in the mirror and sees a smoke

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cloud drifting upwards from the stall: someone is Juuling. This is becoming such a common occurrence that it doesn’t even phase the student washing their hands. Juuling is the cigarette of the 21st century.

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what is it?

According to the Juul brand’s official website, Juuls were created as an alternative to cigarettes by a company called Pax Labs. It’s important to note that a Juul is a specific brand of electronic cigarettes. The Juul vaporizer has regulated temperature control and uses nicotine salts found in the tobacco leaf, unlike free-base nicotine, which is used in standard e-cigarettes. The intended purpose of the Juul is to accommodate cigarette-like nicotine levels to meet the standards of smokers looking to switch from smoking cigarettes, according to the Juul Vapor company. The

body of the device contains a battery that has a temperature regulator and a set of sensors to give readings on the device’s charge level and to sense when one was Juuling. A Juul looks like a flash drive and, likewise, can be charged by using a computer. A Juul pod is an interchangeable part of the Juul and contains nicotine among a dozen other chemicals. The pods can come in various different flavors, however, they all have the same chemicals present because the company has not created any nicotine-free pods, as stated on their website.

the effects of juuling

Smoking one Juul pod is the equivalent of smoking one pack of cigarettes, in terms of their nicotine amounts, and it provides 200 puffs from the Juul. The Juul Labs’ website stresses that the Juul is intended to help adults recover from smoking addictions, but it ultimately weans one off of cigarettes onto another product that contains nicotine. In addition, their website states that, “No tobacco or e-liquid product should ever be considered ‘safe.’” Due to the contents in Juuls, the short-term effects of hitting a Juul can include an increase in heart rate, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke. The U.S. National Library of Medicine-National Institutes of Health states that absorption of nicotine can change the normal functions in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex in one’s brain, changing its development. According to the Encyclopedia for Men’s Health, “Nicotine binds with dopamine receptors in the brain, stimulating the brain’s mechanisms for perceiving pleasure.” Thus, from the moment nicotine enters the bloodstream, it creates a “buzz” that some teenagers crave and can become addicted to.

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The increasing popularity of Juuling has grown in such a short period because of its addictive component: nicotine, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies as Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health. Continued use of nicotine increases tolerance, making an individual require more and more of the substance to recreate the desired effect. There is great reason to suspect that Juuling does have some serious, long-term health effects similar to smoking because of the acting nicotine agent. Mr. David Kreutz, a science teacher at Libertyville High School, said that, from his own research, while a Juul or an e-cigarette is definitely a better option in comparison to cigarettes for smokers, that doesn’t mean it is ideal for those who aren’t already addicted to nicotine. LHS’ School Resource Officer, Mr. Dusan Racic, expanded on why Libertyville High School and local law enforcement respond with such severity when individuals are found guilty of Juuling under the legal age, which is 18: “We still don’t know the long-term health effects of using these things.”


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juuling in our community In the LHS community, Juuling has become a popular pastime among some of the student population. The 2016 Illinois Youth Survey revealed that about 6 percent of freshman, 11 percent of sophomores, 19 percent of juniors and 20 percent of seniors said they used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. While some may think that the numbers will be higher in the upcoming year, Dr. Nelson, who is the prevention and wellness coordinator at LHS, believes that “Juuling and vaping are getting a lot of attention in public health and law enforcement circles right now, so I suspect that’s a sign that use is rising. Whether actual rates of use among LHS students is rising would be speculation on my part,” Dr. Nelson said over email. Some students admit that they were inspired to start Juuling as more students at LHS started using it. “I would have never taken myself to have [a Juul] a year ago. I always thought that it was stupid. But now, as more and more people got one, I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I should just get one.’ So I definitely think that the [peer pressure] is catching on in our society and at Libertyville too,” stated Noelle, a senior. During interviews for this story, one theme that remained constant was that a majority of the students who Juul are upperclassmen. This can partly be attributed to the legality of Juuling because people who are 18 years of age or older can legally buy a Juul in Illinois. Although, according to the Chicago Tribune, Lake County is one of the first counties in Illinois to raise the minimum age to buy cigarettes, tobacco products and electronic cigarettes to 21, this law only affects unincorporated areas, so it doesn’t have a widespread effect. While individual towns like Vernon Hills have raised the age to 21, Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler told the Tribune that “he isn’t planning to schedule a discussion because his community doesn’t have the authority to make that regulation.” Despite the age restriction, Bea, a junior who is 17, still manages to Juul and believes that upperclassmen have “an advantage” because they are old enough to buy Juuls themselves. Bea said she gets her Juuls and Juul pods from older friends who can buy them for her. “It was really hard at first [to find someone to buy a Juul from], but now,” there are many people who know someone that she can buy from. She expanded that “it’s not as hard as it was back then.”

When Noelle was asked why she decided to take on Juuling, she essentially boiled it down to one factor: peer pressure. “Everyone kinda does it now, so it’s more of a normalized thing. Plus, you get a really good buzz from it,” she said. For others, Juuling is an alternative to drinking or smoking weed, as one will still get a “buzz,” while still remaining in control of their body. “I don’t like being out of control. So when you’re using a Juul, you don’t lose any control. It’s not like you’re high or drunk. It’s nothing like that. You’re totally fine… you have total control of yourself,” Bea stated. In the case of Juuling at Libertyville High School, if one is caught, they receive a Code of Conduct violation. Although those students legally can be in possession of their Juul, they still attend LHS and cannot use it on school grounds, as stated in the Student Handbook. A code violation of any kind can negatively affect a student’s reputation within the school, as well as cause repercussions outside of the school. While many students are aware of the potential consequences that can ensue if they are caught Juuling, factors like addiction cause them to use it at school. “It was curiosity at first, but now I [Juul] because I’m basically addicted…I [smoke] a couple periods a day. If I don’t, I guess I just get more tired. It helps me wake up too,’’ stated Bradley, a senior. To keep up with his habit, Bradley chooses to smoke in the school bathrooms. “I just go in the bathroom. First off, I [try to] use the all-gender bathrooms because you’re the only one in there and you don’t have to worry about the smoke. But if not, I just go in a stall in a regular bathroom and then you have to hold the smoke in if there’s anyone else in the bathroom. If there is no one else there, then you can blow it out,’’ Bradley disclosed. Some people who Juul are aware of the consequences of addiction, so they try to limit their consumption. “I definitely just use it more at parties. I never bring it to school. I do it maybe once or twice at home, but I never bring it to school. The biggest thing for me is not to get addicted to it or feel like I need to do it, so I really try to limit how much I use it,” said Noelle, a senior. She further elaborated: “I’ve definitely heard of people who use

I would have never taken myself to have [a Juul] a year ago. I always thought that it was stupid. But now, as more and more people got one, I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I should just get one.’ So I definitely think that the [peer pressure] is catching on in our society and at Libertyville too. - Noelle

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Mr. Dusan Racic, the LHS school resource officer, holding some of the confiscated Juuls, among other vaping devices, from teachers in his hands. He is a sworn law enforcement officer that is responsible for providing security and crime prevention services to LHS.

it in school because they feel like they need it [or] they’re addicted to it. I don’t think it’s a good choice because I’ve heard of people who’ve brought it to school and have been caught. I would never bring it to school.” Since Juuling is such a growing phenomenon, some may wonder how more students don’t get caught. “I know that the security guards are really strict on the guys. They have seperate rotations. Someone is always in the bathroom getting caught Juuling. But they don’t really think that girls do it, so they kind of back off,” Bea said. When it comes to the health effects of Juuling, some students who Juul admit that they are unaware of the effects of Juuling but continue to do so without knowledge of its potential consequences. “I’m not really educated on [the health] aspect. I haven’t heard of anything that’s bad other than the chemicals in it. But I’m not really as educated as I should be,” Noelle revealed. However recent Juuls are to the market, electronic cigarettes have been in existence since the 1960s, according to research collected by Mr. Kreutz. They now have become a big business for many

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companies; according to the CSP Daily News, a publication that reports on, among other things, convenience store retail sales, global profits from e-cigarettes will reach $27.7 billion by 2022. This number is small when compared to traditional cigarettes’ global revenue of $816 billion in 2016, as reported by a clinical research company, IMARC. According to Officer Racic, the popularity that has surrounded Juuling in Libertyville alone has grown in the past year. Before Juuling, there were alternative ways that students were smoking, like vaping. But at least 10 Juuls from this current school year have been confiscated by Officer Racic, he said. As more students become aware of the dangers of cigarettes, the amount of students smoking them is at an all-time low; however, Juuling is on the rise. Officer Racic has certainly noticed the devices’ rising popularity at LHS: “Most definitely [Juuling has grown in our community in the past year]. I’ve been encountering them more and more as this year is progressing.” That serves as further proof that Juuling and e-cigarettes have become the cigarettes of the generation.


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The Life of the Party By Olivia Gauvin Photos by Kylie Rodriguez Layout by Savanna Winiecki

Editors’ Note: Although the topics of underage drinking, drug use and partying are mentioned in this article, Drops of Ink does not condone or promote the behavior discussed here, given that, for all students, such activities are illegal, with the exception of some 18-year-olds who smoke cigarettes. Drops of Ink would like to note that these photos are all staged for the purposes of this article. We as a staff believe that it is our duty to report on events and experiences that occur in high school and are aware that while not every student engages in these acts, there are some who do, making this a relevant and worthy topic to discuss. If anyone is negatively affected by this article, we encourage you to seek help from your counselors and/or LST. For the purpose of this article and its discussion of illegal actions, all underage individuals interviewed are quoted anonymously, aside from their grade and gender. They are identified with fake names for the protection of their privacy. No matter the time of year or city that you’re in, high school parties occur. Even in Libertyville, the reputation of the high school party culture has developed, reaching to different houses and basements within the community. While not all students at LHS party, there is still a significant portion of those who do, which can alter the reputation of what it means to party, and illustrates the vast change in the modern high school social life.



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because they genuinely enjoy the feeling. “I like to drink and smoke [weed]. It’s like a cure for boredom, honestly... Being high is just like you’re mellowed out, and music sounds good and everything’s really funny,” Daniel described. “When you’re drunk, you just kind of feel warm and fuzzy and you’re kind of tipsy. It’s kind of like [my] nerves are lessened when [I] drink. [I’m] less nervous about everything.” Daniel further explained that because he enjoys the feeling of being high and drunk, it makes partying appealing to him. And

Sex, Drugs and Alcohol As Daniel, a junior, explained, there’s a casual atmosphere when walking into a party. Most people are there to socialize and meet other people from around the area. When he enters a party, which is ordinarily in the basement of a loud, crowded house, Daniel joins his friends as they smoke weed and drink. “You just walk [into a party] and there’s a bunch of people talking, having fun, [messing] around. There’s always some music blasting,” Daniel explained. “It’s basically just people talking and just drinking alcohol.” Daniel and others interviewed noted how high school parties are often stereotypical. According to Zoey, a senior, the parties that occur in her basement look quite similar to the parties portrayed in the media; despite the large crowds that attend, she enjoys hosting parties to meet classmates and hang out. “I host parties because I like to have fun and I have a big enough space that I can have a bunch of people over… I love [partying]. I like to hang out with a bunch of my friends. I get to have a bunch of different people come together, and just chill together,” Zoey said. Alcohol, marijuana and nicotine (often smoked through Juuls or vape pens) are extremely common substances to see at a party, according to those interviewed. However, Brian, a senior, noted that the substance usage ranges at parties, as do the people themselves. “There’s alcohol, there’s drugs, like weed, LSD, coke or something. It’s usually just weed and alcohol, and some [nicotine]. [The people] can range from 80 to 100 people, to a smaller group, just like seven people, like a small group of friends,” Brian described. Some of the students interviewed noted that the age range of students that party is quite large, and not limited to upperclassmen. Zoey explained that while she has never seen a freshman at a party, she has seen students from the sophomore class but said those individuals don’t alter the atmosphere of the party. Students interviewed explained how the illegal substances, such as alcohol and drugs, are actually brought to the parties: it’s rare that the hosts supply the substances themselves. “Some people have older siblings who get [alcohol and drugs] for them. Other people have friends who are older who can get it for them,” Zoey noted. She further explained that the substances are normally snuck in through water bottles filled with vodka or bottles hidden inside of bags. Looking beyond the actual substances present at parties, there are many reasons that teenagers partake in drinking and using drugs — and the students interviewed emphasized that they do it


Daniel isn’t the only one who feels this way; others voiced similar reasons as to why they enjoy drinking at parties. “I like drinking alcohol because, although I am decently extroverted, I would consider myself an extroverted introvert, and just having that alcohol and that substance helps me relax,” Brian explained. “[When I’m] relaxed in that [party] setting, it’s nice for me because there are a lot of people in that [party] setting that I normally wouldn’t have interacted with otherwise, had it not been for the traditional high school party.” As the students interviewed described, drugs and alcohol are commonly out in the open at parties, but sex is more private in a party setting. Hooking up does occur at parties, but some students noted that public sexual interaction is mostly just teenagers making out. Daniel emphasized that drinking is far more common than sex. “There is definitely more drinking. Everyone is not having sex left and right. There are some people having sex, but you don’t even know, you know?” Daniel explained. “Everybody is drinking out in the open... people aren’t like [having sex] right on the couch in the middle of a party. People are more low-key.” While teenagers often attend and enjoy parties because of the alcohol and drugs that are available, the high school party atmosphere is not pleasant to everyone. Jessica, a junior, expressed that she no longer enjoys partying in large settings. “[At parties], there are just a lot of people involved. The chances are, at a party, [people are] not going to go home and tell their


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parents and tattle. But [not attending] is just safer, and I just don’t really like the loudness and craziness of it,” Jessica explained. Jessica further stated that sometimes, parties do become out-ofhand and a dangerous consequence is blackout drinking. Blackout drinking is commonly recognized as when an individual falls unconscious due to excessive drinking or drug usage, which is occasionally seen at parties. The students interviewed expressed how it’s stressful to see individuals black out. “I’ve seen [people black out]. It’s a little scary because people are just dumb,” Daniel stated. “When someone is too drunk, it’s like an issue because they’re just limp on the ground, like they’re dead weight. They’re just throwing up everywhere.” Jessica has lived through it and expressed how horrible it felt. “I was blacked out [drunk] before. One time I got very, very drunk. I couldn’t really control myself. It was kind of like I was just a puppet. I don’t remember parts of the night and that’s so [crazy] to say, but I don’t. It wasn’t the last time I drank but it should’ve been. It was the worst night of my life, honestly,” Jessica said. She later explained that these dangerous experiences contribute to the reason Jessica no longer enjoys the typical high school party atmosphere. All of the students interviewed expressed some worry about another dangerous aspect of attending parties: the police. Due to the noise as well as the large crowds at parties, the police are occasionally dispatched to shut down parties, which can lead to teenagers getting caught with drugs and alcohol. However, the majority of the students interviewed agreed that their love for partying outweighs the potential negatives for them. Brian further concluded that partying has positively impacted his life because of

Potential Pressure Those interviewed noted how the elementary school lessons of peer pressure differ greatly from the peer pressure in real life, particularly in high school. However, they all agreed that public peer pressure is not common at parties, and people don’t often interfere with others’ personal choices. “I feel like people don’t really pressure those not drinking into drinking because they realize they actually have a genuine reason [to not drink]. Even if the reason is [someone] doesn’t want to [drink] that night, people don’t care that much,” Brian explained. Daniel noted that depending on the people, peer pressure is different. He also noted that despite the fact he doesn’t feel pressured, that may not always be the case for other teenagers. “I don’t know if I’ve seen people get pressured. It’s tough because usually if people are smoking, then they came to smoke some weed. You’d never know,” Daniel admitted. “There’s a line between pressure and wanting to because everyone else is. It’s tough to say.” Nevertheless, the students noted that pressure varies, and it is sometimes internal pressure, as the feeling of belonging is often something teenagers desire. “There’s kind of a sense of being left out, but it’s not like I have to drink, it’s like I want to be a part of [the party],” Zoey specified. “I don’t want to be the sober person who’s not having fun. I want to be the person who is having fun with all of their friends. Being sober in a group of drunk kids is horrendous.” Mr. Matthew Wahl, a sociology teacher at LHS, explained that the large groups of teenagers that enjoy the party culture are not always motivated by teenage conformity, but rather, are influenced by pop culture’s normalization of partying for teenagers. “[Partying] becomes a cultural norm. It’s not taboo anymore, with party culture… [Partying] is just what kids do. I think the popular culture kind of glorifies it in a way,” he explained. As Mr. Wahl and the students interviewed noted, the meaning of partying today is quite different for the current generation of teenagers than how it used to be. A culture develops through partying and then alters the social interactions among teenagers. “[Partying] can go both ways, in my case, because [while partying], I was being stupid and trying things out with people that [didn’t want] that, and I should’ve respected that more. But also, [on the other hand], I’ve met so many down-to-earth people that I’m friendly with right now,” Jessica said. The students explained that partying has given them positive and negative experiences throughout high school, especially since each party is quite different. They concluded that, through partying, they personally have found their own social lives that they enjoy — all contributing to the reputation of the modern day party.

"I was blacked out [drunk] before. One time I got very, very drunk. I couldn't really control myself. It was kind of like I was just a puppet. I don't remember parts of the night and that's so [crazy] to say, but I don't. It wasn't the last time I drank but it should've been. It was the worst night of my life, honestly." the ability to meet others. “I’ve definitely made more friends through partying. I’ve met a lot of people at parties,” Brian explained. “Like the traditional jocks, or popular people, I’ve become a lot better friends with a lot of them, and I don’t think [we] would’ve become nearly as close had I not been at those parties.”


Editor-in-Chief Maria Thames contributed to the reporting of this story.


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Does your reputation really matter?

How others’ opinions affect you and if they do, or should matter, is very dependent on the person and the situation. We live in a very interconnected society; for example, having connections to others can help you get a job and having a positive reputation makes it easier to make new friends. These opinions affect us significantly more as we are growing up, particularly in middle school. When students are given the freedom to choose where they sit at lunch and who they hang out with at recess, they often become more concerned with how others perceive them. By the time students enter high school, they start to find their place: who they like to hang out with, what type of activities they enjoy and the type of person they want to be. We believe that this new understanding of yourself helps high schoolers care a little less about what their peers think of them. In high school, people seem centrally concerned with how they appear on social media. Teens struggle to take the “perfect” photo to show their happy and easy life. There is a constant struggle to get a certain amount of likes and followers so people try to display the life they think others will approve of, even if it’s not real. These concerns are constant among teens, however, we think that social media shouldn’t be praised the way it is. The person you are on Instagram isn’t who you actually are. Although others opinions of you are important and can help shape who you are, our staff agreed that your reputation in high school does not not define you and frankly, won’t matter after these four years. High school is just one chapter in your life and, for the most part, people are ready to move on afterward.

Staff Editorial Photo by Amanda Black Layout by Jenna Carnazzola

People are social beings; we want to be able to interact with others, and the easiest way to do that is to be liked by others. It is human nature to seek approval from your peers, as we all have the desire to fit in. This is not a bad thing; it can help make you become a better person, but there needs to be balance. When interacting with others, it’s important to think about their opinions of you. If you need to work with someone else, having mutual respect for each other is crucial to completing your goal. When collaborating with others, their opinion of you can affect the work you are able to get done and how effectively you can achieve your goals. A more important factor than how other people view you is what you think of yourself. For example, some people want to be nice people, but if a lot of their peers think they are rude, these people should look into how to treat others better and try to adjust accordingly. One issue we found was that people often have uninformed and inaccurate opinions of others because people too often believe their friends’ opinions of others, even if they haven’t met the person in question. It is important to be open-minded about others and give them a chance to show you who they are. This goes for first impressions as well. Everyone always discusses how crucial first impressions are and how these impressions are often the foundations of our relationships with people. When it comes down to it, your first impression only counts until you get to know someone. Once you form relationships with people, you are able to judge them on the way they treat you and your interactions with them, which help form a more accurate and fair opinion of them.

Note: As this piece is a staff editorial, it is representative of the opinions of the Drops of Ink staff as a whole. The staff is comprised of LHS students from each grade level and spans a wide range of opinions from two class periods, with 47 students total. The author(s) of this piece did not place their personal opinions in the story; they merely reflect the staff ’s thoughts.



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Radioactive Relationships By Maggie Hutchins

Illustration by Kath Haidvogel

You know that awful feeling when you utter an overly friendly “hey!” to a friend in the hall and they look you up and down and keep walking. Not even an awkward, closed-mouth, soft smile was given in reply. You think to yourself, there is no way to recover; you might as well melt into the floor. Everyone just watched you get rejected; there goes your reputation. This unbearably uncomfortable situation may be one of the first red flags that you are in a toxic relationship with a fake friend. Now, just because someone didn’t say “hi” to you a couple times doesn’t make them an awful person or a fake friend by any means. I just mean that, this specific situation, if reoccurring, may be one example of someone ignoring you or separating themselves from your acquaintance. Especially as environments change (for example, going into a new grade or joining a new activity) and people try to adjust, they can end up changing themselves and changing the crowd they want to be associated with. This can lead to cutting people out. To say that differently, high school can be crawling with fake friends. A fake friend is often called a “fair-weather friend,” someone who only wants to be friends with you when it’s convenient for them. Other fake friend symptoms are only wanting to be with you when no one else is around to see, only talking to you when they need something, being unreliable when you really need them and making you feel generally uncomfortable and unwanted. Fake friends lower self-esteem and cause unneeded drama and stress. That’s why it is important to recognize and properly deal with these toxic relationships. So, here are some more specific signs of a fake friend: you’re in a group setting and they don’t speak to you, but when you are just one-on-one, everything is fine; you hesitate before telling them something you don’t want repeated; you feel the constant need to impress them; when you ask to hang out, they make you feel like you’re inconveniencing them. Now you are going down the deep, dark hole of overthinking every single thing you have done in the past dozen years, trying to figure out why they all of a sudden hate you. Stop. Choose people who choose you. Sounds simple. Should be simple. But it isn’t always. In the high school social ladder, (almost) everyone is desperate to climb up a step. This causes people to end up stepping on their old friends as they try to make new-and-improved ones. (Let me digress for a second to clear something up: there is nothing wrong with making new friends at all. But you just need to be careful that you aren’t blindly ditching old friends or making them feel insufficient by openly communicating with them). In reaction to being stepped on, people may desperately try to cling onto the friend who has been treating them so poorly. So, if you are reading this now and a name is popping into your head, whether that be your name or someone else’s, remember that -- and I hate to sound like your mom -- it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who your friends are or how many of them you have. All that matters is that they make you feel good and that you make



Layout by Jacob Kemp

them feel good as well. If you find yourself feeling worse after being around a friend, then grab your gas mask and run away from their toxic vibes. I recall a cheesy, but actually accurate, line from some American Girl “growing up” book that said something like, “You should feel happy after being around a true friend. If you don’t, they aren’t a true friend.” A relationship that negatively affects both people (remember, it takes two to tango) is a toxic relationship; it needs to be terminated or cured. If you feel that you are not in a symbiotic (I’m busting out these freshman biology vocab words here, guys) relationship where both of you are lifting each other up to become better and happier people, then it’s time to think about solutions. First, think to yourself, is it worth it? If they have made it clear that they don’t want you… why should you want them? Whether your answer is positive or negative for various reasons, before you act on anything, have a conversation with them, in person, please. It is vital to make sure that you both are on the same page about where your friendship stands. And who knows? This little conversation could set things back on the right path now that you each are more aware of how your actions affect each other. The bottom line is that the burden a fake friend can put on you can be overwhelming. You shouldn’t have to carry a bundle of insecurities and stress around the people who you should feel most comfortable with. So, please, choose people who choose you.

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Refuting our reputation By Rachel Benner

Photos by Ben Kanches


fter every Drops of Ink magazine comes out, we throw a small party during our class period. It’s complete with food, reading and raving about the newest issue and excessive compliments given to each other for the hard work put into each aspect of the issue. There is a great amount of pride that we have for each issue. However, there are always stories exchanged among staff members that go something like, “I saw a student throw away our issue in the trash!” or “someone spent all of last period complaining about Drops of Ink!” It’s a shame to hear when all of our efforts are unjustly criticized. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course. If you don’t like our magazine, that is O.K. I realize that not every person can be a fan of our work, and it’s not our job to please everyone -- an impossible task anyway. Nevertheless, Drops of Ink gets a considerable amount of disapproval, not all of which is deserved. In preparation for writing this column, I talked to multiple sources, including those who notoriously dislike DOI, to understand the reasons behind their disapproval. With this column, it is my intention to provide some clarity on the main issues some students have. The most common complaint about Drops of Ink is that we are too liberally biased. Yes, the majority of our staff is liberal. Through a survey completed by DOI members, I learned that nearly two-thirds of our staff characterize themselves as liberals; a few


Layout by Demi Glusic

students call themselves conservatives, and more than one-fifth of staff members characterize themselves as moderate (it should also be noted that a few students answered that they did not know enough or did not care about their political preference). I can see where, based on these numbers, it would seem that our publication’s stories are skewed. However, being biased or reporting on “only left stories” is not, by any means, our intention. During the story selection process, editors don’t deliberately choose stories that appeal to liberals and dismiss stories that appeal to conservatives. For example, people may see the story “Dreamers of Lake County” from our November issue focused on diversity as liberally biased; however, the story discussed how the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program directly affects a student at LHS and it was fact-based; there was no part of the story that said it was in support for or against DACA; it was just an exploration of it. Many articles people point out bias in are opinion pieces. These columns are written by individuals to express their personal opinions on certain ideas or issues (like this one). These opinions are not reflective of the publication as a whole. However, staff editorials, written by a single writer whose name and opinions are not reflected in the piece, contain the (often-differing) views of the staff as a whole.


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In news, feature and sports stories, we make every effort to remain objective in our reporting and writing, just like professional journalists. Stories go through three editors before they are published, two student editors and our adviser. Any hints of bias in these stories are taken out during those edits. Some people also argue that our publication makes our school look bad by reporting on issues such as underage drinking and sexting, and that, as a high school newspaper, we should be promoting Libertyville High School. Solely painting the school in a positive light, however, is not our mission. Drops of Ink’s mission is to “deliver news, information and entertainment that is relevant to our readership,” as stated in our editorial policy. Our job is to inform; it is not to promote any person, place or thing. We aren’t going to only cover “fluff,” or stories that are merely entertainment. Fluffy content, like online quizzes or stories about the Homecoming parade, isn’t going to enlighten anyone, and they aren’t going to make any differences at our school. Although there is a time, place and outlet for these kinds of stories, we aren’t going to only cover surface-level topics for the sake of not being controversial. Some kids smoke and drink and sext, and it often isn’t talked about. The purpose behind writing stories seen as “controversial” is not to stir up drama, but to talk about the things that aren’t talked about, to spark conversations and possibly even change. With this being said, DOI is a journalism class. Many students in DOI are considering going into journalism, communications, multimedia,


photography, graphic design and other related fields as a career path and are starting to gain experience here. How will they know that’s what they want to do if they are only working on fluff? On the other hand, some believe we aren’t serious enough and that our newspaper doesn’t cover things that actually matter. To that claim, I say the same thing as before: we are here to report and inform on matters that we, as a staff, deem as being relevant to our readership and impactful within our community. I think sexual assault and mental health are important enough matters. The week after each issue is published, we hold a period-long group discussion in which we go through the magazine, page by page, and discuss not only the things done well, but the mistakes that were made. We see where the writing could’ve been improved in an introduction or where a story was under-reported, having only two sources. Mistakes are made, but we learn and we grow. While we do try our hardest to be accurate and objective, I acknowledge that sometimes we miss the mark. I also ask that you give us a break: we are only high schoolers, but at least we are trying. We want to improve and we do that by learning from our errors. That’s what journalists do (even professional ones!). It’s fine if you don’t like our publication. In the end, we can’t please everyone, but we won’t stop reporting on relevant and impactful news, regardless of how “controversial” it may seem.


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20th Wildcat Stats


By Dylan Heimert Layout by Megan Wolter Wrestling: As of Jan. 17, the team was 12-6 overall, 4-1 in the North Suburban Conference and also ranked No. 20 in the state, according to the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association. Boys Basketball: The team had a field goal percentage of 52 percent and was averaging seven made three-pointers per game on Jan. 16. Boys Bowling: Danny Chmura, junior, bowled a school-record high game of 287 at regionals for LHS, with a school-record series of 734 as well. Hockey: Kyle Junkunc, junior, is leading the Icecats’ offense with 22 goals and 36 assists as of Jan. 19. Dance: The team got third at sectionals and advanced to the first day of the State competition. Cheer: The varsity team placed sixth at sectionals and fifth in the NSC. Boys swim and dive: On Jan. 30, senior Billy Bennett set the LHS pool record for the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 58.67 seconds. Girls Basketball: On Jan. 23, sophomore Lydia Crow recorded her 54th made three-pointer, the most made in a season in LHS history. Girls Bowling: The team’s record was 5-7, including 4-4 in the North Suburban Conference, as of Feb. 1. Junior Katie Felsl (a DOI staff member) placed first at the NSC meet, averaging 195 for her six games. Girls Gymnastics: Senior Claire Neuberger was chosen to be a Wendy’s High School Heisman Finalist, which honors students who put in maximum effort to their athletics and academics. Sports

22 5th





195 28

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By Matt Smith and Colleen Mullins Photos by Dylan Heimert Layout by Nate Sweitzer very day, athletes are held under the district’s Code of Conduct, which applies “on or off campus, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the entire calendar year, including weekends and summer,” according to the Student Handbook. Although all athletes are held to the expectations in the code, the reality is that not all students who sign the code abide by it or take it seriously. Twenty coded students were contacted to be sources for the story; only two agreed to participate. Those two students chose to be anonymous due to the negative stigma of being coded. Students’ reputations could be on the line for one mistake.

FINDING OUT The school can find out about a code violation through the police, social media, a student-self report or an infringement of school rules, according to assistant principal Mr. Eric Maroscher. In the case of an arrest, the police notify the school of the student’s misconduct. This is how LHS was informed of one senior boy’s drinking ticket, which he received in October 2017: “The police notified the school about the ticket, and then I was called down to my LST on Tuesday, because it happened on a Saturday,” he explained. He is a multi-sport athlete. “The problem is, because of the level of immaturity, sometimes when they are doing something they shouldn’t be doing, they get themselves caught,” noted Sergeant Andrew Jones of the Vernon Hills Police Department. Students sometimes throw loud parties, get into fights or commit retail theft, and the police department is called by witnesses.



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When a police report is filed, “all reports are sent to our records division. Juvenile reports are then sent to our investigations division, and then they’re disseminated to the School Resource Officers,” Sergeant Jones explained. In another instance, a junior boy, who does track, was seen and reported for smoking weed in his car before school in the Butler Lake parking lot. “I’m not sure how I was caught. Mr. [Jason] Schroeder (team leader in the G-P LST) came into my class and called me down third period, and he read the whole scenario to me. I didn’t even tell him anything, he just found out,” he said. “Another way [students are coded] is when a report is brought to us on social media, like a good one is you’ll get the kids that will throw a party where everyone’s bragging about drinking out of the red Solo cup and they’ll take pictures at the party,” said Sergeant Jones. “We’re not gonna charge those kids as a police department because we didn’t catch them, but if we report that to the school, the school can run its own investigation and determine if a Code of Conduct violation occurred.” After LHS receives information on a code violation, a meeting is scheduled with the student and team directors to verify that their action was in fact against the Code of Conduct. If so, a follow-up Code of Conduct meeting takes place. Depending on which activities or athletics the student is involved in, code meetings can include parents, the fine arts director, athletic directors, club sponsors, social workers, coaches, team directors, the assistant principal, the school’s school resource officer (SRO) or others, according to Mr. Maroscher. “During the Code meeting, the student has the opportunity to discuss the incident that has brought them to this meeting. The ultimate goal through these discussions and the code process is to provide the student an opportunity to reflect, restore relationships and learn valuable character qualities that will help them be successful in life and move forward,” stated Mr.

“You do not want to be sitting there one day going, ‘Well, I didn’t know I could get in trouble for that’ and find out you are.” Sergeant Andrew Jones

Maroscher via email.

THE PUNISHMENT The consequences for a code violation are outlined in the Code of Conduct. The group of staff members included at the Code of Conduct meeting looks at those consequences and decides where the student falls, as different repercussions are taken for different violations. If an athlete violates the code, they can still practice with their team, but they are not allowed to compete for a certain percentage of the season. As described in the Code of Conduct, the athlete’s first code violation will result in a suspension for 40 percent of their current season or their next season. A second offense results in an 80 percent suspension, and a third offense results in total exclusion from all extracurriculars for the rest of the athlete’s high school years. The senior boy mentioned earlier faced an alcohol violation, so he had to sit out of his last football game on Saturday, Oct. 28. Also, he wasn’t allowed to ride the bus with the team, so he and another one of his teammates who had been coded drove down separately to support their team in East St. Louis. According to the senior, the consequence he faced was “pretty rough” and “a very heavy penalty.” However, he “understand[s] that when people break the Code of Conduct, [the school has] to punish kids, so they don’t go down the wrong path.” Code consequences may seem to be unfair to those not involved in the meeting, but certain confidential details, such



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as the number of previous violations, are factored into the student’s punishment. “For example, two students might have violated the Code of Conduct for an alcohol or drug offense, but it might be a first Code violation for one of the two students but for the other student it might be a second Code of conduct violation. A second Code of Conduct [violation] carries a much greater penalty, so [there are] two different levels of outcome for in essence the same offense,” explained Mr. Maroscher.

“I think some of the things we code kids for are absolutely ridiculous. So I’m okay if we make it more restrictive.” Sergeant Andrew Jones

REDUCING THE PENALTY There are some ways an athlete who has been coded can reduce the duration of their suspension or how much it directly affects a certain season. For example, some students join another sport so they can carry out their punishment through that season rather than their primary athletic season. The senior boy decided to join a winter sport so his consequence wouldn’t affect his spring season: “I play baseball as one of my main sports, so it would’ve been a seven-game suspension for baseball, so I joined the bowling team to serve my code.” The Code of Conduct does allow students to join an extra sport; however, athletes need to keep in mind that “they then must successfully train for, [and] follow all the rules and expectations for the sport and their coach. Further, they must complete the entire season in that other sport. Failure to complete the last week of the sport, for example, would serve to negate that entire season as an entire season must be completed,” explained Mr. Maroscher. Another way to reduce the percentage of the season affected by the penalty is for the athlete and their parents or guardians to enroll in an educational program, which teaches students about the consequences of drugs and alcohol. For a first offense, the course decreases the penalty to a 30 percent suspension and for a second offense, a 60 percent suspension. The junior boy took this course to reduce his punishment: “Since I was a really important part of the musical The King and I and it was really close to the performance, [Mr. Maroscher and Mr. Schroeder] said the only [way] you can do the performance is if you take this outside class for $20. It’ll lessen the punishment at the school.” The Code of Conduct states that if the course is not completed within 60 days of the code meeting, the athlete will have to serve their original consequence.


Students can also self-report their violation to the school in order to only sit out of 20 percent of contests. If an athlete self-reports and completes the educational course, they will only be subject to a 10 percent loss of competitions. A student can only self-report one time in their high school career and only for a first offense. According to Mr. Maroscher, self-reporting is rare, but the overall number of students who have been coded was not released. As of Jan. 1, the state’s Juvenile Reporting Act has been amended so that police departments only reports serious violations. Sergeant Jones is excited for this change: “I think some of the things we code kids for are absolutely ridiculous. So I’m okay if we make it more restrictive.” Sergeant Jones said students should only be coded for offenses that affect their health, not for TPing a house, for example. “I would suggest to every kid, I know the handbook is ridiculously long, and I’m not saying you should read every part of it, but the part about Code of Conduct…you need to read that stuff and understand it,” Sergeant Jones advised. “You do not want to be sitting there one day going, ‘Well, I didn’t know I could get in trouble for that’ and find out you are.”


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